Our team attending black tie event to raise life saving funds

Tonight Caroline and Darren will be attending the Nottingham chartered accountants student society annual ball.

We have been chosen by NCASS as one of the two charities that they will be supporting and as such the senior management team will be excitedly attending this prestigious black tie event tonight and have the privilege of addressing the audience.

Caroline, our CEO says:

“it is a real privilege each time I am given the opportunity to speak to a new cohort of people. We appreciate every moment of people’s time that we are given in order that we raise their awareness of the needs around mental health, self harm, and suicide. I see every conversation as an opportunity to save a life and whilst tonight is an unorthodox time you might expect, to achieve such a thing, I will use this opportunity to talk of our amazing work and how each and every one of us can save lives.”

Keep an eye out on social media and we will be sure to update you with photos and news as to how the event has gone.

What Is Gaslighting? Gaslighting Is A Type Of Psychological Abuse In Which The Abuser Denies The Victim’s Reality.

Gaslighting is a tactic of manipulation some people use to gain power over others.

Unfortunately, it works too well.

At its core, Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that slowly eats away at your ability to make proper judgments. A Gaslighter spins their own negative, harmful or destructive actions and words in their favor, deflecting the blame for their abusiveness and pointing the finger at you. Often, this is done by making you think you’re “too sensitive”, “paranoid”, “unstable”, “silly”, and many other things that can cause you to doubt yourself.

Often adopted by psychopathic, sociopathic and narcissistic types of people, Gaslighting works at eating away at you slowly until you realize that you’ve become a shell of your former self.

Here are a few signs to help you understand if you or someone around you is experiencing this form of emotional abuse:

1. They use what you love against you

Gaslighters will use what is closest to you against you. If you have children, they may try to force you into believing you should never have had them. If you love your job, they will find issues with it.

2. They lie

They will tell you outright lies with a straight face, even if you know they are lying. Why are they so blatant? Because they are setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you begin to question the truth in anything they say. The goal is to keep you unsteady and off-kilter.

3. They make you doubt yourself

You begin to wonder if you’re losing it or going insane. When arguing with your partner, they’ll tell you “it’s all in your head”. You can’t seem to get things right with your abuser or you don’t feel good enough. You think it’s all your fault and that if you did better or tried harder, your relationship would improve.

4. They try to turn you against others

The abuser may also tell you that everyone else is lying and they’re all against you. Believing that everyone else is lying to you forces a further blur on your sense of reality. Gaslighters want their victims to feel like they’re the only one they can trust so they can continue to abuse them.

5. They make you second guess your recollection of the past

Your abuser tells you that it never happened or that you’re remembering the details wrong. For some strange reason, your abuser’s interpretation of events does not match yours, making you question how reliable your own memory is or how justified your reaction is. They might claim that you’re “making things up”, or “You have a selective memory” and you’re “changing the story” to your own benefit.

6. You mistrust your own thoughts over theirs

You begin doubting your own judgment and think others have better logic than you do when given the choice. You distrust yourself and have trouble making your own decisions.

7. You get worn down

This one is done gradually, over time and is one of the most insidious things about gaslighting. A lie here, a snide comment there… and then it begins to ramp up. Even the smartest, most self-aware people can fall victim to gaslighting – it’s that effective. It is the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s thorny trap.

Gaslighting is NOT just something that happens between partners in a relationship. It can happen in any relationship.

For those who have experienced previous experiences of gaslighting in a domestically abusive relationship, for instance, the re-emergence if gaslighting in other relationships, such as in friendships or that with a colleague, can become quickly debilitating and difficult to manage.

Want to join the conversation about female suicide?

On the 28th of February we are hosting the first national conference focusing upon female suicide.

We have the most amazing line up with vital themes being discussed about why female suicide (in young women) is growing at the fastest rate than any other group.

We will be looking at the National context, autism and trauma, self harm and personality disorder, the use of language, perinatal mental health and domestic abuse.

The day is set to be our most exciting programme yet and the rate of sale means that it will soon be closed to new bookings.

If you’d like to join us, BOOK NOW

If you’d like to host a relevant stand/stall, Email us

Would you like to work for Harmless and The Tomorrow Project?

Harmless are pleased to offer these exciting opportunities to join our passionate team and help us save lives. We are looking for dynamic individuals, who are willing to develop their skills; work outside the box and challenge themselves.
We are currently recruiting for the following positions to join our team:

  • Support Officer
  • Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

The deadline for applications for the Support Officer role is 12pm on Friday 10th January 2020. Any applications received after this date may not be accepted. Interviews are due to take place on Friday 17th January 2020.

There is no set deadline for the Suicide Bereavement Support Officer role and we will  be interviewing periodically. Once this position has been filled we will no longer be accepting applications, therefore applying early is advised.

 

Click here to download the application pack for the Support Officer role

 

Click here to download the application pack for the Suicide Bereavement Support Officer role

 

______________________________________________________________________

JOB TITLE: 
Support Officer

HOURS: 
Up to 37.5 hours per week
(Both part time and full time available)

SALARY: 
Up to £21,819 pro rata
(Depending on experience)
Please note: Driving will be a necessary part of the role and therefore applicants will need to hold a valid driver’s license and have access to a car to be able to undertake the position.

______________________________________________________________________

JOB TITLE: 
Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

HOURS: 
Up to 37.5 hours per week
(Both part time and full time available)

SALARY: 
Up to £21,819 per annum, pro rata
(Depending on experience)
Please note: Driving will be a necessary part of the role and therefore applicants will need to hold a valid driver’s license and have access to a car to be able to undertake the position.

______________________________________________________________________

 

If you have any questions regarding these roles or the application process, please contact us:

Phone: 0115 880 0280
Email: admin@harmless.org.uk.

What does it mean to be trauma informed and why does it matter?

In mental health services (and every day life) we come across people who have experienced trauma in one way or another.

It is sometimes said that traumatic reactions are normal reactions to abnormal situations. As true as this statement is, it’s also true that individuals’ coping reactions post-trauma remain poorly understood, even by many of the people who are in the best positions to offer support and treatment to trauma victims. It is important for everyone to understand that victims of traumatic events, such as human trafficking, will not always react or behave in the way that we might expect.

Being trauma informed can help us to help that individual. But what does it mean to be trauma informed?

Well firstly it means having an understanding that the trauma may have impacted the way that the person sees their life and engages in their everyday experiences. It means understanding that the experience of trauma can leave people feeling both psychologically and physically changed.

There are five primary principles for trauma-informed care.

Safety. This includes creating spaces where people feel culturally, emotionally, and physically safe as well as an awareness of an individual’s discomfort or unease.

Transparency and Trustworthiness.

Choice.

Collaboration and Mutuality.

Empowerment.

Why does this matter?

Well, it helps us to understand why someone may respond the way that they do and as such, helps us to modify our own behaviour.

To illustrate why trauma-informed care is so important, take a few examples. Sometimes people only believe victims of rape when they are incredibly emotional when describing the details of the assault, because that reaction is perceived to be the normal reaction to such trauma. But many victims speak matter-of-factly and without affect or visible emotion about these traumatic events. This doesn’t mean that a victim is lying or exaggerating claims. Rather, the stoicism is often tied to a victim’s desperate attempt to cope with trauma through detachment.

Another example is substance abuse. With substance abuse, a compassionate, trauma-informed approach is one that starts by acknowledging that people may use substances, such as drugs or alcohol, as a survival skill as the result of trauma. Without considering that perspective, health-care providers will not be able to effectively provide help.

So if we start responding to people from an improved trauma informed perspective, then we are more likely to be able to support the traumatised individual. Our ability to do that might be the precise thing that they need to overcome their traumatic experience, or to even survive. So it matters. It matters a lot.

So when you are with a friend who isn’t expressing distress in the face of some pretty horrendous experiences, or when you’re colleague is seemingly subjugated and withdrawn in the face of an overpowering colleague, being truly trauma informed can help us to respond to these situations in a more empathic and empowering manner. It enables us to allow the traumatised individual to be heard.

And that might be all the change they need.

It certainly won’t do harm and for someone who’s experienced adversity, this really matters.

Are your thoughts effecting your life?

I have been a therapist for 16 or so years now (oh my gosh, that’s a long time!)

I have worked with people of all ages. From young people through to older adults.

They’ve come to me with all manner of needs and things they want help with; from dealing with chronic pain through to managing the impact of trauma and abuse. I have sat with them in their absolute terror and pain and confusion.

There is one defining issue that many of the people I have had the privilege of helping, share and that is their absolute ability to be unkind to themselves.

Whether it is because they have grown up in an environment where they’ve lacked what they needed, or they’ve been a high achiever, or they’ve been adversely harmed by others, we all have this tremendous ability to internalise a sense that it is our fault.

We tell ourselves we should feel this, or should be better at that.

We carry around an inner bully that says we should be doing things better, or achieving more or that we are stupid.

It’s so easy for us to observe bullying when it happens from one individual to another, yet we’re not so good t recognising it inside of ourselves.

If you’re unhappy and not sure why, try and listen to some of these messages you might be telling yourself, especially those of a negative tone.

I’m stupid

I’m worthless

Feeling that way is silly

There Isn’t Enough Time

I’m Totally Inadequate

The World Is An Awful Place

I’m A Humongous Failure

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

No One Cares About Me

When our brain tells us these things we behave, often, in response to them.

There isn’t enough time – why bother trying – don’t try the thing we want to do – miss out on the thing we wanted to do… feel pretty rubbish

No one cares about me – avoid seeing people that I want to see because I don’t think they can care about me – feel isolated and alone – reinforce the idea that no one cares.

We can become our own bully.

But it can totally turn around.

If you read this and recognise any of what’s written here, have a word with your internal bully and maybe try and reach out to get some help and support.

Be kinder to yourself.

Why am I always unwell on holiday?

Man, I am so sick of being unwell right now.

I work hard all year round. I push myself until the final hour. I break for Christmas. Then I break at Christmas.

Then comes the cough.

And the snot.

And the shivers and chills.

Seriously, two weeks of pure and unadulterated unwellness. That’s my repayment for hard work all year.

Yup.

But there’s something in that, isn’t there? That my body crashes when I stop because I have maybe pushed so hard?

There’s even a term for it – ‘leisure sickness’!

Whether there’s validation of the phenomena or not (read more Here) I have lost count of the number of people who describe the same and loudly proclaim ‘me too!’

Perhaps we all need to stop working at 110miles an hour so that in the times that we slow, we avoid being punched in the face with some dreadful, my body-is-exhausted, virus.

Shouldn’t we all be looking a little more at our balanced wellbeing across the year, instead of the peaks and troughs of exertion that is so common amongst us all.

Why not share with us and each other your tales of workplace wellbeing and self care?

New year, new you?

New year, new me? We will see….

GP’s referring to alternative services as CAMHS can’t cope with the referrals

This story does not come as a surprise to us at Harmless.

Most of the referrals that we receive come from services (such as CAMHS and GP’s) or families that have been sent to us.

We are not paid by the NHS to provide these services, nor do we charge people for our help. That’s not what we do. But the referrals keep going up and the risk to young people keeps getting greater.

In the year that we see the rate of suicide in young people at the fastest rate – this is something that needs addressing.

Keep supporting us so that we can keep helping those that can’t access what they need.

Lives really can get better. We are here.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jan/02/four-10-gps-suggest-private-care-mentally-ill-children

Suicide

Pay attention in life.

Suicide takes the lives of people who are not known to mental health services. They are our fathers, daughters, sons, friends and colleagues.

Pay attention in life. Listen. Ask. Reach out.

You might just save a life.

In case you missed it. Our CEO opens up about anorexia. Please read and share.

It has taken me a really long time to assemble the words for this, in both my heart and my head, and to find the courage to communicate them.

For those who know me I’m Caroline.

Friend.

Mum.

Wife.

To the broader world I’m Caroline Harroe, CEO of Harmless. Psychotherapist. Leader. Optimist.

2019, for one reason and another, has been particularly difficult for me. A year ago I had twins. I already have twins (and an older child) and a second set of twins was not in the life plan, so to speak. We are very lucky, we know we are, but unfortunately due to trauma and the strike of ill mental health, their arrival has been painful. They were so wanted but their little lives didn’t start quite how we had hoped.

Like many families, the unspoken trauma of birth was their beginnings.

For the best part of the year, like many parents with young babies, I have been tired. Robotic. I haven’t really had room to the feel joy of my babies, I have just been functioning. Doing. Being. Making sure my kids are ok. And my babies are fed. And safe. And feel loved. And looking after my wife, who has been unwell. And working in between everything else to try and keep my beloved service, Harmless, ok.

And look after my team.

And face some really terrible work situations.

And fight for funding that should never be so hard to come by.

And never quite being good enough.

And… keep… going… the rhythm of life maintained me. It didn’t sustain me in any way, but the demands kept me moving.

Like any vehicle running out of fuel, it was inevitable that I’d start to break down.

But I still didn’t see it coming.

My ‘breakdown’, for want of a better word took me by surprise. I am a woman of insight and intellect, of heart and soul and passion. I was too busy on this treadmill of life to stop long enough to look after myself. Too busy caring for everyone else to invest in my own survival.

I broke.

It started slowly, I guess. I started to fixate on my weight. Thoughts coming from desperate tiredness began assuring me that I’d feel better if I lost weight; in control, somehow.

And sure, it did help in the way any eating disorder helps. It made me feel in control when my life felt so overwhelming.

I continued to accept my failings like a sponge, taking criticisms and my sense of inadequacy inside of myself and wrapping my thoughts around them until they eroded me.

Before long this became my normal. The rhythm of life ‘keep going… keep going… get up… feed kids… be a mum… work… keep going’ was somewhat replaced with ‘eat less… eat less…be thinner..:’

For those who don’t understand eating disorders it can be difficult to contemplate but the rumination about food took the place of the constant overwhelm of life. It gave me a focus other than the responsibilities placed upon me. It gave me a place for all of the criticism of me to be acted upon, as though every judgment (internal and external) of me became a self depreciating punishment upon my body. When you have a public profile as I do, everyone’s a critic. No matter how much good you do, there’ll always be those who doubt you, blame you, criticise you… without even knowing you, or even when they do. I have learned, as is true of all of us, that I cannot please everyone but because I was striving to I began to feel as though the world needed less of me. And so I gave the world what I thought it wanted.

Less-of-me.

Each thought about weight loss was driven by a sense of never quite being enough for all the demands placed upon me. In reality I have come to realise that no matter how much good I do, or we do, the reality is that there will always be so much more to do… more money to raise… more people to help… more lives to save.

The greater the demands, the more my sense of inadequacy; the greater my failings, the less space I should assume and the greater the drive to lose weight because this is something I have mastered, something I CAN do well.

Soon enough the noise of this new rhythm meant I truly was out of energy, physically and mentally. My mood was low. My ability to perform against the many tasks in my life untenable. My weight loss goals not attainable (certainly at the rate I hoped for) and my sense of failure, of not being good enough, of being useless became a constant.

I stopped believing in a future.

I stopped feeling the hope that I preach so broadly about…

For a mum who’s never spent time away from her babies, a short stay in hospital was (with hindsight) inevitable but heart wrenching and soul destroying.

It was the ultimate failing.

But it happened.

What happened to me, happened. I steadily lost sight of a future. Of my worth. I was surrounded by personal and professional pressures that outweighed my own resources because I lost sight of self care and if realistic goals.

Support was thin on the ground, though those that were there for me every day and every night sustained me, as I continued to try and keep the plates spinning for everyone I know and love. Professional pressures and scrutiny remained high. Those things hit you hardest when you have been up every night, on your own with small babies, for months and months.

When the world is sleeping, I felt my isolation more.

What happened next, you ask?

Well that’s almost irrelevant. I wrote this down and committed my story to paper to show how easily someone of health and professional stature, someone with a home and a family and friends can steadily become unwell. How we can all be a victim of life and its unpredictable circumstances. I wrote it down so that I am living by the standards I set, that there should be no shame in speaking out about the vulnerabilities of being human. It makes us no less of a person, or a mum, a friend, a colleague, or indeed, a leader.

None of this is said with pessimism, but rather intended as a lesson for us all. We must look after ourselves. We must.

We will run out of steam if not replenished.

We are all vulnerable and at times we all need help no matter what the exterior.

Seek help. From us, from anyone. I am battling my own sense of shame in breaking a silence in the hope that it reaches someone and helps them to share their truth.

No one is immune from the human experience. And no one is professional at being that human. We absolutely have to let each other know that life is something that can be survived if we help each other and let those of us who let pride dictate our silences know that there is also a room for our voices to join the many that say ‘we’ve felt that way too!’

January is often the start of New Years resolutions- to start doing this more, or being that more … to get thinner.

For every person out there, making a decision because they don’t think that they’re good enough already, I hope that my story reaches you. You are enough. Make your resolution to care for yourself more. To take time out. To be home more with those your love. To forgive yourself more, but not necessarily to change yourself.

I hope that your New Years resolution can instead be to be kind to yourself, or to take time for yourself or to accept yourself as you are, or if necessary, to seek help for yourself.

Be healthier, sure but please don’t destroy yourself because of the pressures to be better than you already are.

You’re good enough.

Caroline